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Part 121 Pilots Over 60  
User currently offlineRedcordes From United States of America, joined Jan 2006, 245 posts, RR: 0
Posted (8 years 7 months 2 weeks 3 days 18 hours ago) and read 2509 times:

Does it seem reasonable that a pilot can act as Captain on a trans-Atlantic, 747 flight one day, but the next he is not even allowed to be an F.O. on an RJ? Why not allow these pilots to transition back to the right seat for another five years after reaching 60? The flying public may perceive an older, experienced F.O. as an asset.

[Edited 2006-03-13 20:06:13]


"The only source of knowledge is experience." A. Einstein "Science w/o religion is lame. Religion w/o science is blind."
20 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineAirWillie6475 From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 2448 posts, RR: 1
Reply 1, posted (8 years 7 months 2 weeks 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 2499 times:

I don't think any airline captain wants to transition to a RJ job. There is plenty of work for retired guys. Flying corporate, some go into being flight engineers for cargo, some go into the training department of their airlne. Some are saying that the 65 rule will be legal in a few years, if that happens it will slow down the pilot hiring at majors even more, as if it isn't at a stand still right now. I don't think having a grandpa as a captain would make me feel even more safe. Keep in mind some of these guys are life long friends with thier medical examiners, so they could get away with minor problems here and there like high blood sugar or heart rythms.

User currently offlineFlyHoss From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 598 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (8 years 7 months 2 weeks 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 2491 times:

First, IMHO, the "Age 60" rule is not only arbitrary, but also unfair. I do expect that it will be changed, though I can't really predict when it will be altered.

You're trying to apply some measure of logic to a government regulation. I'd suggest that you refrain from doing so; you'll only end up with a headache.

If you really believe that the rule is unfair, then write your Senators and Representative.



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User currently offlineLowrider From United States of America, joined Jun 2004, 3220 posts, RR: 10
Reply 3, posted (8 years 7 months 2 weeks 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 2472 times:

Like it or not, age 60 is the current rule. It may be an arbitrary number, but it is only unfair if it is applied unequally. If the number is going to be raised, what should we raise it to and how shall we pick this new magic number? If it is 65, then in 5 years, will be be hearing how it should be 70? The fact that some pilots medical out before 60 and others are still quite capable beyond 60 suggests that, as an average number, it is still quite viable. I look forward to retiring at 60. I haven't seen any evidence that the rule needs to be changed. The only pilots I talk to who are upset about it have told me that they are not prepared to retire due to personal, financial considerations. I think that is what is really driving the age 65 crowd.


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User currently offline474218 From United States of America, joined Oct 2005, 6340 posts, RR: 9
Reply 4, posted (8 years 7 months 2 weeks 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 2447 times:

There are lots of Part 121 pilots over 60, it just that they are all retired. Dumb rule, but thats your goverment at work.

Will Rogers once said "Just be thankful you don't get all the goverment you pay for."


User currently offlineFlyHoss From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 598 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (8 years 7 months 2 weeks 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 2441 times:

Quoting Lowrider (Reply 3):
but it is only unfair if it is applied unequally

By "unfair" I was referring to the financial shortfalls a pilot encounters when retiring at the age of 60. For example, recently retired pilots (like from US or UA) have had their pensions obliterated and turned over to the PBGC. The PBGC would normally pay out about $48,000 per year, but punishes pilots for retiring "early" and pays them only $28,000.

Several other countries allow pilots to continue past 60. I'm not aware of any incident or accident involving those older pilots, are you?

Any age, be it 62, 65 or 70, is arbitrary. Why not let a pilot continue as long as he or she is safely able?



A little bit louder now, a lil bit louder now...
User currently offlineShyFlyer From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 6, posted (8 years 7 months 2 weeks 3 days 12 hours ago) and read 2426 times:

Quoting Lowrider (Reply 3):
If the number is going to be raised, what should we raise it to and how shall we pick this new magic number?

I've always liked this idea:

Quoting FlyHoss (Reply 5):
Why not let a pilot continue as long as he or she is safely able?


User currently offlineLowrider From United States of America, joined Jun 2004, 3220 posts, RR: 10
Reply 7, posted (8 years 7 months 2 weeks 3 days 10 hours ago) and read 2412 times:

Quoting FlyHoss (Reply 5):
Any age, be it 62, 65 or 70, is arbitrary. Why not let a pilot continue as long as he or she is safely able?

Great, but how do you determine that? Under most circumstances, you will not be able to determine that a pilot is no longer fit to work until he/she has an incident or accident. Retroactive retirement is not a viable option. Recently retiring pilots are not the only ones who have incurred financial hardship over the past few years. If the age 60 rule is supposed to be about safety, then personal financial gain is not a sufficient reason to overturn it.



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User currently offlineL-188 From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 29805 posts, RR: 58
Reply 8, posted (8 years 7 months 2 weeks 3 days 10 hours ago) and read 2411 times:

It used to be that a lot of the pilots who hit 60 would go be flight engineers or Navigators. Of course technology has taken that option away.

The ALPA did bring it up to the Supreme Court a few years back, who supported the rule, so don't see it changing for a while.



OBAMA-WORST PRESIDENT EVER....Even SKOORB would be better.
User currently offlineRedcordes From United States of America, joined Jan 2006, 245 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (8 years 7 months 2 weeks 3 days ago) and read 2374 times:

Quoting AirWillie6475 (Reply 1):
I don't think any airline captain wants to transition to a RJ job.

I didn't mean to imply that he wanted to. I said that he isn't allowed (by regulations). My point is that if being Captain requires more experience, and presumably knowledge, he would seem well-qualified to go back to the right seat (assuming that his overall ability gradually decreases due to age he should still be very capable for some time).

Quoting AirWillie6475 (Reply 1):
I don't think having a grandpa as a captain would make me feel even more safe.

I said F.O. not Captain. And, I for one, would rather see a highly experienced former Captain as an F. O. than someone fairly young and not very experienced (Actually, I'm comfortable with either because of the training requirements).

Quoting AirWillie6475 (Reply 1):
Keep in mind some of these guys are life long friends with thier medical examiners, so they could get away with minor problems here and there like high blood sugar or heart rythms.

True, but this can happen at any age, and we really have to trust the judgement of these medical professionals. However, as far as heart arrhythmias, a first-class medical requires a real-time transmission of the EKG to Oaklahoma City. Faking this would be highly unethical (of course, anything's possible).

The bottom line is these guys are put through rigorous simulator check-rides at least yearly in addition to passing the physical every six months. That's the proof of their competency in my mind. Also, the sytem is rather transparent, and any significant short-comings will become obvious rather quickly to other flight-crew members, operations, ATC, F.A.'s, etc. Another factor here is that some of the Majors have cut their pension by 80%-- and yesterday it was reported that Delta is probably going to discontinue it completely. When these guys signed on, they realized they would have to retire at 60 -- But WITH A GOOD PENSION. Last summer I was speaking to a friend that is in his 50's, a Capt. with Delta and he stated his expected pension had gone from about 60K to about 12K -- and apparently still dropping. How is it that the laws governing pensions have erroded to this point. A pension is a contract (now worth about what the paper it's printed on is) Can you imagine if our highly unionized government employees were given this kind of treatment. Ironic, isn't it?



"The only source of knowledge is experience." A. Einstein "Science w/o religion is lame. Religion w/o science is blind."
User currently offlineShyFlyer From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 10, posted (8 years 7 months 2 weeks 2 days 13 hours ago) and read 2341 times:

Quoting Lowrider (Reply 7):
Great, but how do you determine that?

In addition to the required medical exams and simulator and line checks, the other members of the flight crew have a duty to step up when they feel someone amongst them is acting in an unsafe manner.


User currently offlineLowrider From United States of America, joined Jun 2004, 3220 posts, RR: 10
Reply 11, posted (8 years 7 months 2 weeks 2 days 12 hours ago) and read 2338 times:

Quoting ShyFlyer (Reply 10):
the other members of the flight crew have a duty to step up when they feel someone amongst them is acting in an unsafe manner.

So in addition to the other duties, flight crews are now expected to be qualified to assess the physical and mental fitness of older pilots on a continuing basis, trying to determine if a person they have never met before was simply distracted for a moment, is having a bad day, or is unfit to fly? No thank you. Not only do you have to be in an unsafe situation for a problem to become apparent, but you now have to be educated on a whole host of new issues. This goes way beyond having the flu, or consistently violating rules and proceedures. This also does nothing to build trust or a good working relationship in the cockpit. It is an unreasonable expectation to place on pilots.

Quoting ShyFlyer (Reply 10):
In addition to the required medical exams and simulator and line checks,

If these were sufficent today, then they would serve as grounds for the removal of the age 60 rule. The continued of existence of the rule suggests that others do you share your confidence in the measures.



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User currently offlineJimpop From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 12, posted (8 years 7 months 2 weeks 2 days 11 hours ago) and read 2330 times:

I don't know any pilots, but I sure say "thanks" everytime I see one and, if the guy/gal behind me isn't rushing to de-plane, I try to shake their hand too.

I do know a few 65 or 70 year old guys that I would feel perfectly safe placing my life in their hands be it a car, bus, jet, or other situation. I also know some 20 years olds that scare the heck out of me and some 40 year olds that behave like twenty year-olds.

Age isn't a good determination of anything, except ability to drive a car and drink alcohol, *oops* age isn't even a good measure for that. OK, so age is a good determination for US Presidents, oops perhaps not (Note: I do like GW, but come on he isn't a Wilson or a Jefferson). So what about using age to determine acceptability to serve your country (*cough*abu gharib*cough*). I guess using age to determine job capability is just an easy way for a chief pilot (or whoever is in charge of all pilots) to perform their job.

In the end we all loose when stereotypes are used, and *yes* it is stereotypical to assume that a 61 year-old person is unfit to handle the worst scenarios that you or I may face.


User currently offlineCosmicCruiser From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 2255 posts, RR: 15
Reply 13, posted (8 years 7 months 2 weeks 2 days 10 hours ago) and read 2319 times:

Quoting Redcordes (Reply 9):
I for one, would rather see a highly experienced former Captain as an F. O. than someone fairly young and not very experienced

Just to point out that most "new" and/or "younger" capt.s don't want an older "more experienced" f/o sitting beside them. There would almost certainly be a conflict especially if he was a Capt that just went to the right seat because of age.

Quoting Jimpop (Reply 12):
it is stereotypical to assume that a 61 year-old person is unfit to handle the worst scenarios that you or I may face.

This has been hashed over before but just to play devil's advocate a little I can tell you that you're right that age doesn't really determine one's ability to do the job or not BUT there's more to it than just that. Consider the stress of the trips. Our trips have changed (optimized) temendously over the last 20 years and with every new year it's harder and harder to get "good" rest when you've gone across 15 timezones and you feel a little worse with every new day of the trip. My last trip got revised one the very first leg and I never recovered for the rest of the 8 day trip. As I've said before if you're Mr. Executive at age 68 in your downtown office and you have a heart attack the EMS techs will be there in about 8 min. and usually save your life; if you're Capt. Doe and you have that heart attack on your layover in the hotel in Penang your dead.


User currently offlineShyFlyer From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 14, posted (8 years 7 months 2 weeks 2 days 10 hours ago) and read 2317 times:

Quoting Lowrider (Reply 11):
...flight crews are now expected to be qualified to assess the physical and mental fitness of older pilots on a continuing basis, trying to determine if a person they have never met before was simply distracted for a moment, is having a bad day, or is unfit to fly?

Long story short, yes.

Bottom line, safety is everyone's job. If someone is acting in a manner contrary to that, it isn't going to take an expert in medicine or psychology to now if someone isn't up to the task that day.

The underlying cause for the deficiency in performance doesn't matter. If they skip items on the checklist, forget call-outs, slow to react, etc. they have no place in the cockpit (or cabin) until those issues are corrected.


User currently offlineLowrider From United States of America, joined Jun 2004, 3220 posts, RR: 10
Reply 15, posted (8 years 7 months 2 weeks 2 days 10 hours ago) and read 2313 times:

Quoting ShyFlyer (Reply 14):
Long story short, yes.



Quoting ShyFlyer (Reply 14):
safety is everyone's job

True statement, but I am not an AME, have not been trained as one, and cannot be expected to perform the duties of one. I'm not talking about missing a callout. Mistakes are made in every cockpit. If anyone says otherwise, they are lying. That is why you have two people, to backstop each other. I am talking about evaluating a person to determine if thier physical or mental state has decayed to a point where they can no longer do thier job on an ongoing basis. Safety may be everyone's job, but medical certification isn't. I am prepared to handle an incapacitated crew member, but I am not prepared to do FITREPs on every crew member I fly with.

What I think you are proposing is a system which would be ridden with errors and abuse. 60 may not be exactly on time for everyone, but have yet to see any data that suggests it is not a good average.



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User currently offlineFlyHoss From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 598 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (8 years 7 months 2 weeks 1 day 23 hours ago) and read 2285 times:

Quoting Lowrider (Reply 15):
Safety may be everyone's job, but medical certification isn't.

True enough, but a crewmember is (and has been for many years) expected to stop an unfit fellow crewmember from flying.

Don't believe me? Would you let a a fellow pilot fly drunk? Or would you do the right thing and at least refuse to operate the trip with him or her?

Safety already does extend to evaluating the fitness level of your fellow crewmember.



A little bit louder now, a lil bit louder now...
User currently offlineLowrider From United States of America, joined Jun 2004, 3220 posts, RR: 10
Reply 17, posted (8 years 7 months 2 weeks 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 2266 times:

Quoting FlyHoss (Reply 16):
Don't believe me? Would you let a a fellow pilot fly drunk? Or would you do the right thing and at least refuse to operate the trip with him or her?

Safety already does extend to evaluating the fitness level of your fellow crewmember.

I have already addressed this in a previous response.

Quoting Lowrider (Reply 11):
, trying to determine if a person they have never met before was simply distracted for a moment, is having a bad day, or is unfit to fly?



Quoting Lowrider (Reply 15):
I am prepared to handle an incapacitated crew member, but I am not prepared to do FITREPs on every crew member I fly with.

A drunk, sick or injured crew member is entirely different. Those could almost be called no brainers. They are also seperate from the topic at hand. I would rather have an AME with an objective set of standards determine if I have become to old to fly, or use a hard and fast rule, rather than the subject observations of the more junior people I will be flying with at that point.



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User currently offlineFlyHoss From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 598 posts, RR: 0
Reply 18, posted (8 years 7 months 2 weeks 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 2256 times:

Quoting Lowrider (Reply 17):
A drunk, sick or injured crew member is entirely different. Those could almost be called no brainers. They are also seperate from the topic at hand. I would rather have an AME with an objective set of standards determine if I have become to old to fly, or use a hard and fast rule, rather than the subject observations of the more junior people I will be flying with at that point.

That's pretty well said and I agree that a drunk or clearly sick/injured pilot is more obvious than a pilot that's lost some of his/her "faculties."

But don't rely on the AME too much, either. When you get a new medical from the AME, the AME is certifying that you met the standards at that moment. Come tomorrow, next week, next month, it's the responsibility of the pilot to know "when to say when."

It's also apparent that not every pilot will do so; there are some that will go on too far or too long (I'm aware of pilots flying when "too sick" for example). Then it becomes the responsibility of the other crewmember(s) to ensure safety.



A little bit louder now, a lil bit louder now...
User currently offlineSfomb67 From United States of America, joined Dec 2005, 417 posts, RR: 0
Reply 19, posted (8 years 7 months 2 weeks 14 hours ago) and read 2200 times:

Quoting L-188 (Reply 8):
The ALPA did bring it up to the Supreme Court a few years back, who supported the rule, so don't see it changing for a while.

Maybe the Supreme Court should obide by this rule too, but then there'd be nobody left!



Not as easy as originally perceived
User currently offlineFumanchewd From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 20, posted (8 years 7 months 1 week 3 days 11 hours ago) and read 2128 times:

Alot of these guys try to buy their way into corporate/charter. I can't count how many times I've seen a resume of a retired 744 or 772 Captain who has 25,000 plus hours and then is forced to retire. They then buy a Gulfstream IV or CL-604 type rating. When you look at their hours, it is common to see someone who is 61 or so with 10,000 plus in 747's and 20 in a GIV. Its sad that they spent all of that money on the type rating, chances are no one will take them without more time unless they are willing to be an FO.

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